Florida bill expected to be filed for 2024 session would require monuments to be put back up

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida monuments, including those to the Confederacy, taken down by local governments could have to be put back up.


It’s a provision Action News Jax has learned will likely be part of a bill expected to be filed for the upcoming state legislative session.

Last session Florida lawmakers considered a bill that would have prevented local governments from removing historical monuments, including those to the Confederacy.

It didn’t pass, but State Senator Jonathan Martin (R-Fort Myers) told Action News Jax he intends to refile the bill in the 2024 session, but this time with more teeth.

“Anything that’s going to protect American history is on the table,” said Martin.

Martin said the new bill will likely include some degree of retroactivity to prevent local governments from hastily removing monuments ahead of the bill’s effective date.

That would mean monuments removed within a certain timeframe, would have to be put back up.

“So, we want everybody to know that if they’re going to be removing American history thinking that we’re a loophole between now and the time any bill is signed that they may still be held accountable,” said Martin.

Martin didn’t offer specific dates for the timeframe the bill would impact, but in conversations with House sponsor State Representative Dean Black (R-Yulee), it was conveyed to Action News Jax that the bill would likely impact the Confederate obelisk removed from James Weldon Johnson Park in May.

“It’s very disrespectful,” said State Representative Angie Nixon (D-Jacksonville).

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Nixon argued the monument bill is intended to stoke division and distract from pocketbook issues.

“They want to push bills that drive wedges and create friction amongst different community groups,” said Nixon.

Senator Martin, on the other hand, contended he wants to ensure American history is preserved and accessible to the public.

“And not relegating our history, our monuments, our memorials, our symbols to brick and mortar museums that require people to pay an admission,” said Martin.

Action News Jax reached out to Mayor Donna Deegan for comment on the proposal, but was told the administration wants to wait until the bill is formally filed.

That will likely be this fall when state lawmakers begin their pre-session committee meetings.

The 2024 Florida Legislative Session officially begins in January.

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